by Nicholaus Patnaude
Lorna clicked on the link in the anonymous email directing her to Juglicious.com and fought back the urge to vomit-Gerald had promised never to show the photos to anyone, unless their exposure would help give clues to the whereabouts of her missing daughter, Hannah.
Somebody answered on the third ring.
Heavy breathing on the other end.
“We want to film you this time,” a woman’s voice said. “Be at The Mikado in thirty minutes. Wear a winter coat with nothing on underneath.”
The line clicked off.
The Mikado was empty except for a bartender and a woman slumped over a bevy of manila folders.
The woman smirked, a gold fang-shaped tooth glinting as Lorna approached.
“The shoot’s for GangBangBeavers.com. If you fuck one thousand guys in ten days on camera and appear to like it, we will vanish from your life and return Hannah.”
Lorna picked up the pint glass and pushed it into the woman’s face, feeling a shard grind against her thumb as she cleft the woman’s nose.
As Lorna slammed the woman’s head onto the glass bits and spilled beer, she heard the shutter of a camera open and close.
The bartender lowered the camera and pressed a button behind one of the booths. A projector screen unrolled. A naked man, chiseled and tan, lounged on a bearskin rug beside a fire with a glass of cognac precariously held in his tightly-bound hands.
‘I Want You Back’ by The Jackson 5 played on a turntable.
A cattle prod burst into the frame, zapping the man’s gargantuan member.
“Say it,” a garbled female voice said from off-screen.
“Help me,” the man said. “And help Hannah. Just do what they say. You don’t want to see what they’ve done to Hannah, I—” the man said before another zap from the cattle prod made his jaw clench and sent him writhing in a seizure.
After the transmission ended, the bartender led Lorna to his silver Jaguar, a shotgun pressed into her lower back.
Lung Woman, New York City’s greatest ally in fighting crime, swung from a strand of flesh and drop-kicked the bartender.
Lung Woman’s head exploded from a shotgun blast.
Up close, Lorna could see through the bartender’s nylon.
“I always loved you, Gerald. Even when you dressed as a woman,” Lorna said, easing up the nylon.
“Don’t touch me,” Gerald said, cracking Lorna’s jaw with the back of his jeweled-ringed hand.
Gerald’s phone rang.
“They want to talk to you.”
“You’re gonna get gang-banged tonight. If Henrietta is turned on by your performance, we’ll return Hannah,” the same garbled woman’s voice said.
“Any questions?” Gerald asked, pulling the nylon over his lipstick and eye-shadow, raising the shotgun.
But Lung Woman had survived, her exploded face making her resemble The Wasp Woman.
“Stop. Both of you. Just put me in the trunk,” Lorna said.
“Like we did last time?” The Wasp Woman said.
Lorna heard the keys jingle outside the trunk. Gerald and The Wasp Woman escorted her to an ivory high rise with unruly vegetation sprouting from the roof and windows of the penthouse apartment. It was beside the white oaks, rats skittering over bedrock, and the pond of NYC’s Central Park.
The doorman licked his lips and faux-pouted at Lorna.
The apartment was dim and her flats kept sticking to the mahogany floor. A shadowy figure sat in the corner veiled by a mosquito net listening to a Marlene Dietrich record on an antique turntable with muscular men whipping wooly mammoths lugging pianos carved into the nickel-plated wooden base. On the inside of its brass horn, paintings of reddened blue and green eyes glared.
Rosewood furniture legs crackled and a plume of green and purplish smoke rose from a cushion in a fireplace with a cast-iron mantelpiece, elephant bird skeleton and shark fin shapes carved into the metal.
An August breeze lifted the lace curtains of the bay window overlooking the stone bridge and wood ducks on the Central Park Lake.
The bronze muscular man from the transmission crawled down through the chimney, goat legs having replaced his arms. Flames licked his oily body, smelling of blackened hot dogs, as he scratched behind his ear with a goat hoof on the bearskin rug.
The figure under the mosquito netting lit a cigarette with a silver Zippo.
“Strip,” the woman said in a husky voice.
“Don’t worry. She won’t see any of this.”
The bronze-skinned hunk with goat legs set up a video camera on a tripod as Lorna unbuttoned her winter coat, which had caused an itchy sweat to accumulate in her unshaved armpits.
Gerald and The Wasp Woman returned, carrying a roasted Elephant-headed man tied by rope to an iron pole.
As instructed, Lorna wore nothing beneath her winter coat.
Beads of sweat rolled down her sides as she trembled and her breath quickened.
Gerald, wearing high-heels and a cocktail dress, batted his heavy green eyelashes and motioned Lorna towards the flames of the fire as The Wasp Woman removed her spandex jumpsuit with the neon yellow lungs printed over the rib portion.
As they pushed Lorna into the flames, her sense of balance and gravity ruptured while she held onto the hot iron sides of the fireplace as if about to fall down a well.
Lorna looked down and saw the balsa wood crawlspace door from her parent’s bedroom with the charcoal spider she’d drawn as a child. It swung open. Lorna saw her father stroking himself in front of three separate screens of heavily mascaraed women’s faces: half-smiling, drugged, and rocking gently forward and backward with their bodies painted sparkling silver and sparkling gold.
It was her father’s blue face, like the time she’d caught him doing that but with an elephant’s trunk for a nose and a pair of tusks on his cheeks, which kept drooping downward as they had been jammed into putty instead of an organic part of his bone structure.
Lana looked away as he yelped and ejaculated, only to see a mass of undulating flesh on the bearskin rug in front of the fireplace to which she clung. Her fingertips sizzled. Claws grabbed Lorna’s forearms and swung her up into the moist pink and slick bronze mix as pleasure gutted her sense of reason, poise, and inhibition, filling each relaxing and accommodating orifice with throbbing meat and curling tongues.
Henrietta left her mosquito net, gently massaging her ginger-haired vulva and clitoris, using a five-horned feathered object with an angry clay Native American man’s face surrounded by red and white beads in its center.
When Henrietta moaned, as if sliced by a butcher knife from nipple to nipple, everyone climaxed. They all slept for a time.
Lorna’s knees ached and her sex felt raw from the aggressive acts she had performed on camera.
Hannah slept soundly in the backseat.
Lorna gripped the steering wheel, the urges lessening.
The ghost of Lorna’s father sat in the passenger seat.
“Will you make me a promise?” he said.
He looked at her with sad blue eyes.
Nicholaus Patnaude grew up in haunted, rural Connecticut. After completing his degree at Bard College, he worked in a variety of mental institutions and halfway houses. An excerpt from his illustrated novel, First Aide Medicine, was published in The Seahorse Rodeo Folk Review November, 2010 issue. First Aide Medicine, which won the 2010 International Emergency Press contest, was published on June 4th, 2013. He currently lives and works as a teacher in La Paz, Bolivia. He can be found blogging about underground writers, psychedelic music, and cult cinema at nicholauspatnaude.com or on twitter at @poemcultureblog.